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After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Richard Davies started a pizza delivery business in Detroit. And when pizza delivery turned into a shootout, he created a bulletproof vest using Kevlar. He named it the “second chance” vest, and variations of his original design are used by troops today.
The modern bulletproof vest consists of two parts: The soft plates that protect the wearer against fragmentation and rigid plates that protect against armor-piercing projectiles. However, it’s important to note that modern designs prioritize mobility over protection, unlike the early designs.
Here are some of the interesting facts that you didn’t know about a bulletproof vest.
The term bulletproof is only in principle, meaning that your safety is not 100% guaranteed when worn. Bulletproof armor is only bullet resistant, and a bullet can get through it depending on the distance and the type of ammunition. However, it’s only in rare circumstances that a vest rated to stop it is penetrated.
Kinetic energy, also known as blunt force trauma caused by the fired shot, can inflict severe injuries on your body. Because of the bullet force, a standard bullet proof vest must have a back face signature below 44mm to ensure that you survive the power of the impact.
The amount of blunt force trauma will depend on the velocity of the bullet; the higher the speed, the more the impact. Top speed velocity bullets fired from high-speed rifles such as 7.62X51 NATO can penetrate soft plate armor.
Made of Fiber
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The commonly known material used in a bulletproof vest is KEVLAR fiber. This material is lightweight, like the usual clothing fiber, but is 5X stronger than a piece of steel weighing the same. It is interwoven into a thick net to absorb impact energy from the bullet.
The bulletproof material works the same way as a soccer net; when the ball hits the net, the energy is dispersed to a wider area from the point of impact. This way, the net can absorb the inertial energy from the ball, no matter where it hits. The structure of a bulletproof material is similar to that of a soccer net; long strands of fiber are interlaced to form a dense net.
Beyond Kevlar, other materials are being developed to make body armor. Vectran is the most commonly available material and is two times stronger than Kevlar. Other emerging fiber materials are spider silk(used to make Biosteel) and carbon nanotubes.
Don’t Soak in Water
If you think of cleaning your vest, it isn’t a good idea to toss it in the washing machine. When you soak it in water, the vest will lose its ballistic performance and make it susceptible to ammunition penetration.
Therefore, use a sponge and a little soap to clean. Febreeze can do a good job as well if you wish to use it. Also, be mindful of where you keep it for drying. Avoid leaving it in a place that can cause them to bend because it’s difficult to reverse the damage once they do.
In addition, it’s essential to have a spare bulletproof vest to put on when you clean one to be safe if you are in a line of career whereby you are facing constant threats.
Has A Lifespan
You can only use a bulletproof vest for a limited period. When its time of usage has elapsed, then its capability to stop projectiles will start to diminish. Therefore, it is crucial to keep in mind all the factors that can affect its life so that you can make a replacement at the right time.
How well you handle and care for your vest will significantly affect the extent of its life. An adequately maintained carrier will last longer than a neglected one. Therefore, you should clean your body armor regularly to remain valid for an extended period.
Also, how often you wear your bulletproof vest will determine its life. A regularly worn vest will be replaced sooner than the one worn occasionally. It’s important always to check that the vest is undamaged to ensure maximum ballistic performance.
You Can Still Fight After A Shot
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If you are shot at while wearing a bulletproof vest, the armor offers you an opportunity to fight back. However, some people may be too shocked to move.
As long as your carrier is not damaged, you are in a position to return fire if you are caught up in a direct situation. Your vest offers you a chance to escape in a tight spot.
Law enforcement officers come across security threats that endanger their life regularly on the line of duty. Therefore, it’s essential to take precautions as a police officer or military personnel and always wear your bulletproof vest when active on duty. Although the vest may not stop all the threats, you are at least safe from small-caliber rifles.